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Koh Samet: Thailand's Tropical Oasis 3 hours from Bangkok

Nestled in the Gulf of Thailand, just a short journey from Bangkok lies the enchanting island of Koh Samet. Renowned for its pristine beaches, azure waters, and vibrant nightlife, Koh Samet is a tropical haven that beckons travelers seeking a perfect blend of relaxation and excitement.

Koh Samet Island

Arrival in Paradise:

Koh Samet is easily accessible, making it a popular getaway for both locals and tourists. After a short boat ride from the mainland, visitors are greeted by the island's lush landscapes, inviting beaches, and the promise of a tropical escape.

Stunning Beaches:

Koh Samet is home to some of the most stunning beaches in Thailand, each with its unique charm. Sai Kaew Beach, known for its powdery white sand and crystal-clear waters, is a popular choice for sunbathing and water activities. Ao Prao offers a more secluded atmosphere, perfect for those seeking tranquility.

Sai Kaew Beach Koh Samet

Vibrant Nightlife:

As the sun sets, Koh Samet comes alive with a vibrant nightlife. Beach bars and seaside restaurants offer a lively atmosphere, with fire shows, live music, and beach parties creating an unforgettable nightlife experience. The island strikes a perfect balance between daytime relaxation and nighttime revelry.

Sai Kaew Beach

Diverse Water Activities:

Koh Samet offers a plethora of water activities for adventure seekers. Snorkeling, jet-skiing, and parasailing are just a few options for those looking to explore the island's marine beauty and add a dose of adrenaline to their getaway.

Scenic Viewpoints:

For panoramic views of the island and the surrounding sea, trek to one of Koh Samet's scenic viewpoints. The hike to the top of Koh Samet's highest point, Ao Phrao Viewpoint, rewards adventurers with breathtaking vistas that capture the essence of the island's natural beauty.

Sunset at the viewpoint near Ao Prao beach

Marine National Park:

Koh Samet is part of the Khao Laem Ya-Mu Ko Samet National Park, emphasizing the island's commitment to preserving its natural splendor. Visitors can explore the park's hiking trails, discover hidden coves, and admire the diverse flora and fauna that thrive in this protected area.

Thai Cuisine Delights:

Indulge in the rich flavors of Thai cuisine at the island's numerous beachfront restaurants. From freshly caught seafood to traditional Thai dishes, Koh Samet's culinary scene caters to various tastes, ensuring a delightful gastronomic experience.

Thai bbq on the beach at sunset

Island Hopping:

For those looking to explore beyond Koh Samet, the island serves as a gateway to nearby gems such as Koh Kudi and Koh Thalu. Island-hopping adventures allow visitors to discover new beaches, coral reefs, and unique landscapes just a boat ride away.

Koh Samet, with its pristine beaches, vibrant nightlife, and natural beauty, stands as a tropical oasis that captivates the hearts of all who venture to its shores. Whether you seek relaxation on sun-kissed beaches, thrilling water activities, or the vibrant energy of island nightlife, Koh Samet offers an unforgettable escape, inviting you to experience the best of Thailand's coastal paradise.

beach of Tubtim resort Koh Samet

Where to stay

Is a great option if you want to stay at a central point on the Island but away from the noise. From here you can even walk to 6 other beaches on the left and right from the resort. This is where we stayed the last time we visit the Island. Tubtim Resort Koh Samet offers a sublime escape for travelers seeking a perfect fusion of tropical beauty, comfortable accommodations, and warm hospitality. With its beachfront allure, charming bungalows, and a dedication to providing a serene atmosphere, Tubtim Resort stands out as a delightful choice for those looking to unwind in the embrace of Koh Samet's natural splendor. Whether you're lounging on the beach, enjoying a meal with an ocean view, or exploring the island's wonders. Book Now

beach of Tubtim resort Koh Samet

Ao Prao Resort Koh Samet: A Secluded Haven of Luxury. This hotel is located on the other side of the Island which is popular to watch the sunset. With its exclusive beachfront location, lavish accommodations, and impeccable service, the resort creates an environment where guests can escape the ordinary and embrace the extraordinary. Whether you're seeking a romantic retreat, a celebratory escape, or simply a luxurious beachfront experience, Ao Prao Resort is poised to exceed expectations and provide an unforgettable stay in this tropical paradise. Book Now

Ao Prao beach Koh Samet

Located on one of Koh Samet’s most private beach, Le Vimarn Cottages and Spa is an oasis for couples and honeymooners. Retreat from the hectic pace of modern life as the resort subtly enchants you with its elegance. Book Now

First of all, its not the best resort of the Island but defintly its on the most beautiful beach on the Island. It looks a little bit outdated but the Cottages loooks nice and right on the beach they have new rooms too. Book Now

relaxing at the beach of Koh Samet

How to travel to Samet Island

Getting to Koh Samet is actually pretty easy, the journey will be in 2 parts, the first will be the bus/minivan, and the second will be via ferry or speedboat.

I’m going to assume that you will begin your journey at Bangkok.

Part 1 - Bangkok to Ban Phe Pier

The first part is traveling form Bangkok to Ban Phe Pier, Rayong which is where you will board your ferry. There are a few options for you to take, 220km form Bangkok means that the journey will take 2-3 hours by car:

  • Personal Car - Can be tiring, but you can drive leisurely at your own pace.

  • Taxi (NOT recommended at all) - overpriced at 1500 - 2500 THB

  • Bus / Minivan (Recommended) - Cheap and good service, little to no hassle, air conditioned.

Bus/Minivan option is the most convenient and cheap at around 400-500 THB Depending on the ticket you purchased the bus will leave from either Mo Chit’s New Bus Terminal or Ekkamai Bus Terminal.

The Ekkamai Bus Terminal is easier to reach as it is directly under the Ekkamai BTS Station. I highly recommend you purchase a ticket in advance as the bus can fill up quickly. The tickets are cheap and is well worth it for the comfort you are getting.

If you book online most of the time its a combined ticket with van and speedboat or bus and ferry

Ao Phai beach Koh Samet

Part 2 - Ban Phe Pier to Nadan Pier, Koh Samet

From Ban Phe Pier you have a few options for boats heading to Koh Samet:

  • Speedboat - 15 Minute ride, 200 THB per person (one way trip)

  • Ferry - 40 Minute ride, 70 THB (1.00 USD) per person (one way trip)

Kiu beach Koh Samet

Getting Around Koh Samet Island

Transportation around the island is easy and quite convenient. Koh Samet is only 6.5km long and all the attractions, beaches, bars, and restaurants, are all clustered near each other making traveling between each destination a breeze.


The most obvious mode of transport is to walk, while walking can be an enjoyable experience, I doubt you want to walk the whole length of the island especially if you want to travel further south to reach some of the beaches there such as Ao Pakarang. Not to mention that the south of Koh Samet is quite mountainous so you’ll be hiking rather than walking. But walking within or around the main Koh Samet beaches is perfectly doable.


A super popular method of traversing Koh Samet is by Motorbike. This allows you to have more flexibility and speed compared to walking or using the Rod Song Thaew. The roads in Koh Samet can be a little bumpy, further south of the island the there are many twists and turns as well as plenty of inclines and slopes, so just be careful when you are driving.

If you are looking to rent a motorbike, there are rental shops all around the island, the starting price is around 400 THB per day, most motorbike rental shops include fuel for free

Note that you will need to have an International Driving License to rent a motorbike, but I found that most shop owners don’t care, but do beware that

if you not have the right license youre insurance company will pay nothing by a accident.

Ao Nuan Beach Koh Samet

Rod Song Thaew

If walking under the sweltering heat of the sun is not your forte or you don’t know how to drive a motorbike then the Rod Song Thaew is your best friend.

Rod Song Thaews are pickup trucks (they’re green in Koh Samet) with two rows of seating in the back, which is where the “Song Thaew” (meaning two rows) in the name comes from.

These are your equivalent of Taxis and can take you anywhere on the island. The fares depend on the distance you are traveling but usually fall within the ranges of 20 - 100 THB.

Note that you will usually be sharing your ride with a few other passengers, also if you are the first people in, the driver will usually want to wait for more people so as to not waste fuel. You can also arrange a price to drop you of somewhere, price will be around 200 THB

Ao Nuan Beach Koh Samet

The Beaches of Koh Samet

Koh Samet has well over a dozen beaches, some spanning hundreds of meters in length and some only a modest few tens of meters. Nevertheless some of the beaches are quite beautiful and spectacular and are definitely places you must see while in Koh Samet.

Also you might notice that the majority of beaches here are not called “haad” (Thai word for beach), but instead they are named “ao” which means “bay”.

Koh Samet Beach

The aforementioned Koh Samet Beach is a narrow, but long beach that stretches across the island. There are plenty of restaurants and bars on this beach so plenty of things to do and see. Koh Samet Beach is quite peaceful as not many tourists visit this one, so if it’s quiet seclusion that you seek while still maintaining activity then this is the best place to be.

Ao Prao

Ao Prao is the only beach located on the upper west coast of Koh Samet and is sometimes lovingly referred to as “Paradise Bay”. The Ap Prao beach area is also home to some of the most exclusive resorts and expensive restaurants on the island so if you are looking for a bit of luxury then this 200m long beachfront is for you.

Nearby is also where you can find some viewpoints where you can admire the beautiful island sunset.

This is my favorite beach out of the whole bunch.

Ao Prao Beach Koh Samet

Sai Kaew Beach

Sai Kaew Beach also known as Crystal Sand Beach is the biggest and most popular beach in Koh Samet. This beach stretches on for 900m and is packed full of activity from water sports to beachside restaurants and bars.

Here is where you will also find the Ploy Talay Restaurant (which I will talk about later), arguably the best place on the island to get fresh seafood and to witness the exciting Fire Show which I will more about later on.

Sai Kaew Beach has no shortage of things to do, most fun activities are definitely the water sports which include but are not limited to:

  • Water skiing

  • Jet skiing

  • Banana boat

  • Wind surfing

  • And many many more!

Sai Kaew Beach Koh Samet

Ao Wai

Ao Wai is a small little beach on the south of Koh Samet, you’ll only find a single resort here so thigns won’t feel overly cluttered and busy. This bay is the perfect place if you want to seclude yourself then Ao Wai is a great place to kick back and relax your worries away.

Ao Wai Beach Koh Samet

Wong Duean Beach

Similar to Ao Prao Beach, Wong Duean Beach is popular with tourists who are looking to splurge on their holiday. The area features a market as well as plenty of shops and restaurants, the hotels and resorts in Wong Duean Beach can be on the pricy side but that is worth it because the beach’s main highlight is the amazingly beautiful crescent shaped bay which the area is within.

Ao Thian

Ao Thian, also known as Candlelight Beach is a serene yet rocky beach which gives the area a sense of wonder and adventure. There isn’t a lot to see and do here, a few canoes can be seen and a restaurant sits above the sandy beach.

But what Ao Thian lacks in activities, it offers in seclusion and peaceful serenity.

Ao Pakarang

Ao Pakarang sits on the most southern tip of Koh Samet and is a combination of rocky cliffs and mini beachfronts. The area features the most scenic cliffside view in all of Koh Samet and is perfect if you like to take adventerous and daring looking Instagram photos.

Koh Samet

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